What are some of the new and existing
categories that will drive business during
the first half?
Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing:
A great amount of LED, LCD and plasma displays are doing well in the market. Unit sales on these items are up considerably, as well as sales of HTIB (home theater in a box), sound bars, GPS devices, netbooks and iPod accessories. However, the ASP (average selling price) on these categories continues to decline. We see ereaders, netbooks, headphones, ear buds and LED displays as big categories for the first half of 2010.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:
Televisions are still very exciting, and overall product availability will remain tight. LED technology is popular due to the ongoing push to be green. Therefore, the consumer is educating himself on the benefits of LED over LCD. LED TVs utilize less power and are being marketed as producing the fi nest picture quality.
Digital cameras are a consistent and solid business. Consumers want advanced features like optical image stabilization with powerful zooms but won’t settle for a less stylish design. So manufactures have to remain technology-savvy and hip — even with the new waterproof options. Notebooks are hot, and we’ve seen a common trend for many manufacturers shifting to the now more standardized 16:9 screens. Consumers are looking for a lightweight and affordable option with a long battery life without sacrifi cing style.
Mark Gustavson, WYNIT:
“Needs” will continue to trump “wants” as we move into Q2. Technology products aimed at SO/HO and road-warrior users have seen steady growth over the year. Accessories, consumables and supplies remain viable. Modest boosts may be gained as ASPs on “niceto- have” products approach the impulse-buy threshold.
Doretta Raffio, ADI:
We will see opportunity in retrofit applications, commercial A/V and growth in vertical markets. Lower costs on projectors and fl at panels will drive business, as well as more entry level price points on Blu-ray players. System enhancements, and upgrades, will help increase sales.
Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman and Co.:
Apple-related accessories, flatpanel TV and Blu-ray players continue to drive the business.
The spike in iPod and iPhone penetration from last year’s holiday selling season has led to increased sales of all related accessories, such as docking stations, cases, speaker systems and home-based units. Flat-panel TV sales are still robust, with demand for screen sizes shifting to the 40- inch arena after the fourth quarter. Blu-ray retail price compression has also allowed this categories sales to remain steady.
A nontraditional category that many CE dealers are embracing is that of LED lighting. With all the interest surrounding the “green initiative” and demand for these products only growing many retailers are viewing this category as an increased margin play as well as a new traffi c and volume driver.
Jeff Kussard, Capitol Sales:
Multi-room entertainment has matured to the point that even the most reticent end users can be tempted with wireless and powerline carrier products that require minimally disruptive installations and service. Think about it — as recently as 2008, the custom installation market focused almost exclusively on new housing starts, reaching only 5 percent of middle class and upper-middle income consumers. Even during the boom years, it was just a sliver of the pie. Only two years later, the addition of No New (Long) Wires technologies to our catalog extends our reach from 5 to 95 percent of the overall market.
This isn’t to say that traditional custom products will disappear anytime soon. On the contrary, companies like Actiontek are developing some of the most interesting products that take full advantage of existing coax wiring. It’s just that for the fi rst time, we can offer a system for almost any reasonable application and budget. I expect PLC and wireless to remain hot throughout the year.
Warren Chaiken, Almo:
Our research shows that the big growth category for 2010 is LED TVs. As these attractive panels get thinner and less expensive they will end up becoming a functional piece of home décor. Technology that makes your home look nicer — now that’s something most consumers will be interested in.
Benjy Goldstein, Fesco Distributors:
Digital music players, e-readers and thin LED TVs are just some of the products that are leading the market.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries:
Petra has always believed in the power of the add-on accessory sale because it’s the biggest profi t driver for retailers. We’ve experienced an exponential growth in sales over the last few months in our iPhone/ iPod category with peripherals such as cases. And we’re really excited about the launch of the iPad, which gives us a whole new category to drive business with accessories like docks, cases and keyboard docks. Existing accessory categories that we think will also drive nice results in the industry include “green” UPS systems and batteries, photo/video, GPS and ereaders.